Retro Review: Yashica Electro G35
So, somehow I got myself into another camera. But it's a film camera -- not a DSLR. It's a Yashica Electra G35. It's actually my second Yashica electra. The first was my dads... and it really was kind of beat up. Eventually, I may be able to get it opened up and fixed... but for now it's where a lot of old film cameras are. It's sitting on a bookshelf collecting dust.
The Yashica Electro 35 first hit the stores in 1966 as the "working man's" Leica. It was sold all the way up until the 80s. The Electro is a rangefinder camera. Which means you aren't actually looking through the lens when you are framing and taking your picture. That feature creates a unique experience for the photographer. The shutter is extremely quite. The image in the rangefinder is always bright and crisp.
You focus by looking at the bright yellow diamond in the middle of the rangefinder and turning your focus nob until the two images in the diamond match up.
It's also an "Aperture Priority" camera and the first electronically control 35mm. Aperture Priotity- in this case- means you set the aperture that you want to shoot at and the camera will adjust the shutter speed. But it will give you a warning if there is too much or too little light for the current settings.
The slow and over lights come with corresponding arrows to tell you which way to turn your aperture ring.
Without a battery, you get no warning lights and the shutter speed defaults to 1/500th of a second.
The ASA/ISO range goes from 12 to 500... which is good but some later models bumped up the ISO to 1000.
It also has bulb mode and flash mode.
The camera is hooked up to a 45mm 1.7 prime lens.. that does not detach. There were later Yashica models with detatchable lenses... but I believe those were also DSLRs. Anyway the 1.7 prime lens is a great piece of glass for bokeh. The accessor connector that you see on the top is not a "hot shoe" it's a cold shoe.
The camera measures light using a cadmium sulphide photoresistor. Don't even ask me what that means.
Why did I buy this camera?
The Yashica that I had before this is basically dead in the water. I tried every battery and battery combination on it. They all failed to work. I also took the thing apart to fix the battery.. but failed when I couldn't get the top cover off. You need a weird tool called a spanner which fits in two holes on the film advance lever.. and asa/iso dial.
Other reasons to buy this camera?
There could be any number of reasons why someone would want to buy this camera. It's really easy to work with since it works in Aperture Priority mode. With a little patience you could really learn a lot about photography. I think this could be a good street shooter.
How does it look?
I think when it comes to cameras.. we're beginning to learn that looks do in fact matter. Just look at the interest in the Nikon Df. Notice I didn't say success of the Df because I don't think interest has translated into huge sales just yet. The metal and black combination work really well for me. They work well for a lot of products: Cars-tires and rims, Guns, Kitchens and cameras.
I think the Yashica leather case kicks it up a notch. I'm actually thinking about getting one that fits my digital camera. ... We'll see how that works out for me.
With all of that being said,.. It's great to keep in mind that its not the camera that makes the pictures. It's not the press of a button, focus or lens size that creates a picture. It's the person behind that camera that creates a setting, image or moment... then sets up the camera and lighting in a way that art is projected onto the film, or digital sensor.